Xfinity Isn't the Fastest Internet Provider in the US Anymore
Xfinity ranked high in Ookla's first quarter report for 2023, but another broadband provider did a little better.
Trey PaulSenior Editor
Trey Paul is a CNET senior editor covering broadband. His 20+ years of experience as a writer and editor include time at CNET's sister site, Allconnect, and working with clients like Yahoo!, Google, The New York Times and Choice Hotels. An avid movie fan, Trey's career also includes being a film and TV critic while pursuing a degree in New York.
ExpertiseHome internet and broadband, including plans, providers, internet speeds and connection types. Movies and film studies.Credentials
Master's degree in Cinema Studies from NYU and interviews with Conan O'Brien, Stan Lee and some of his biggest Star Trek childhood idols
Which internet service provider is America's fastest? Every quarter, Internet speed-test company Ookla publishes data collected from millions of people using its Speedtest.net tool to determine which internet provider offers the fastest median download speeds. Spectrum and Xfinity have traded places back and forth since last summer. Now the verdict for the first three months of 2023 is in, and Spectrum is back on top.
Spectrum, Charter Communications' internet service provider, took the pole position with a median download speed of just under 235 megabits per second, beating out the previous quarter's winner, Comcast's Xfinity, which finished the first quarter of 2023 with a median download speed of just shy of 233Mbps.
To qualify as one of the country's top internet providers in this survey, an ISP must appear in 3% or more of the total test data taken during the three months. For example, EPB, a provider in Chattanooga, Tennessee, boasts the country's fastest residential internet plan at 25 gigabits per second (or 25,000Mbps). But since it's only available in that portion of the country, it won't appear on the national list (though it certainly topped the list for Tennessee).
Also of note is that the 3% threshold is based on the data from tests run by customers across the country, not simply whether a provider covers 3% of the country. T-Mobile Home Internet, for example, is now available to 60% of the country, according to the 2022 Communications Marketplace Report released by the Federal Communications Commission in December. However, its customer base, which has grown to over 2.6 million subscribers, was not quite large enough for it to crack into consideration on that top list.
Though Spectrum's speed test results with Ookla garnered a median download speed rating of 235Mbps, that doesn't equate to every Spectrum subscriber getting at least 235Mbps. Nor does it mean that some Spectrum subscribers won't see speeds faster than that -- Spectrum offers a gigabit plan with 940Mbps download speeds. It's simply a good snapshot of a typical US customer's experience with their internet service.
Will Spectrum hold on to that prime spot? Can Xfinity bounce back? Or will Cox, which took the lead from April to June 2022, find its way back to the top? We'll be watching to see what happens with 2023's second-quarter results.